The post below first appeared earlier this week at Paulick Report.
It was a “Joy”-ful weekend for Ken and Sarah Ramsey and their star stallion Kitten’s Joy, who stands at their farm on Harrodsburg Road south of Lexington, Ky. Already established as a leading American sire, Kitten’s Joy had a career-making day on Saturday.
In a single afternoon, the stallion had three Grade 1 winners: Big Blue Kitten (Sword Dancer Invitational) at Saratoga, then Real Solution (Arlington Million) and Admiral Kitten (Secretariat Stakes) at Arlington. So far this year, Kitten’s Joy has 15 stakes winners and racers with total earnings of nearly $7.5 million.
Champion turf horse in 2004, Kitten’s Joy won the Secretariat during his 3-year-old campaign, and it was one of two G1s among his nine victories. A winner of more than $2 million, Kitten’s Joy also ran second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Arlington Million.
The heavily muscled chestnut showed good speed for a turf horse, but he has added dimensions as a sire that were not fully apparent from his own racing career. The stallion’s offspring frequently show useful form at 2, many stay at least 10 to 12 furlongs, and they possess the versatility to perform on different surfaces.
Those are qualities frequently associated with the sire of Kitten’s Joy, the outstanding Sadler’s Wells stallion El Prado, who began his stud career at Airdrie Stud, then spent the remainder as a leading sire for Adena Springs.
A powerfully made gray who had been a juvenile highweight in Ireland, El Prado earned every accolade of his stallion career, making believers of seasoned hardboots and veteran turf writers. Past the midpoint of his span as an eminent stallion, El Prado also sired a pair of sons who have created a branch of Sadler’s Wells in North America.
With Medaglia d’Oro siring a champion in his first crop, there was no doubt the dark brown son of El Prado was a major new force in the stallion corps, and Kitten’s Joy confirmed El Prado as a sire of sires to be reckoned with.
One of the central factors in the stallion success of Kitten’s Joy is that he has towered over most of his mates in class. While generally well-pedigreed, the mares sent to Kitten’s Joy have tended to be only fair performers on the racecourse.
Real Solution and Admiral Kitten, for example, are the first foals of their dams, who are winners by Pulpit and Grand Slam.
The 4-year-old Real Solution is out of the Pulpit mare Reachfortheheavens, and the 3-year-old Admiral Kitten is out of the Grand Slam mare Reachinforthestars. The latter produced only two foals before dying in 2011.
The dam of Real Solution has produced a 3-year-old full brother to the Arlington Million winner named Matagot, no 2-year-old (barren), a yearling colt by Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, and a full sister to Real Solution for 2013.
Big Blue Kitten, a 5-year-old horse out of the Unaccounted For mare Spent Gold, was bred by the Ramseys and races for them, like the two other G1 winners last weekend. The bay horse went through his conditions two years ago, recording a single stakes victory among five successes in seven starts with his win in the G2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga.
Considering that opening season of activity, Big Blue Kitten’s second season, last year at 4, was a major disappointment, as the horse won just a single allowance race in December. His best stakes effort was a third in the G1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
This season’s results have been much better with four victories from six starts to date, including a pair of G1s in the United Nations and then the Sword Dancer on Saturday.
One of the best older turf horses, Big Blue Kitten is much the best foal of his dam, who was a non-winner in three starts and who had produced a pair of minor winners when sent through the ring at Keeneland’s November sale in 2010, when Big Blue Kitten was an unraced 2-year-old, for $1,000.
The mare did not have a subsequent live foal till this year, when she produced a full sister to Big Blue Kitten.
Spent Gold is a half-sister to stakes winner Clever Tish (Clever Trick), and they are out of the winning Spend a Buck mare Spend a Dream. Their second dam is the Roberto stakes winner and major producer Mystical Mood.
With the success of these high-class racers and many others, the recent books of mares to Kitten’s Joy have included many producers with excellent credentials on the racetrack and at stud. If the results of these matings follow the pattern of El Prado, the resulting progeny will be high-quality and durable racers who should entertain fans and enrich their owners.